‘We have been seeing a Y-o-Y growth of 20 to 30 per cent through expansion’

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Tell us about Newtronic’s business journey and its ongoing activities

N M Mehta

Newtronic was founded in 1980 by myself. After continuous efforts, today Newtronic got transformed from manufacturing temperature controllers to manufacturing sophisticated laboratory equipment for the pharma industry. Our flagship products are stability chambers which are used for determining the shelf life of drug products and drug substances. Apart from this, our other products designed for the cooling chambers, incubators and ovens are used in pharma companies as highly trusted and dependable products. Today, Newtronic has its own premises spanning over 40,000 sq ft at Kandivali, Mumbai. Recently, we have started one more facility at Umbergaon, Gujarat across 20,000 sq ft.

Why did the company decide to manufacture user friendly stability chambers for the pharma industry?

The Indian pharma industry was going through a phase wherein it required a series of compliance measures to export to international markets.

I understood the need and decided to design chambers that meet regulatory aspects, mainly ICH, WHO, US-FDA, TAPPI, TGA, JPMMA, MHRA, ANVISA, ASEAN or any other testing standards.

We strongly believe that it is the end-users who finally operate the systems, and if the system is complicated and unsafe to work it is difficult to withstand in the market. Systems should work smoothly and harmlessly. With strategic research, initiatives and immense knowledge, Newtronic started manufacturing stability chambers that are easy to handle with minimum maintenance, and are best suited to achieve the required conditions and comply with regulatory requirements.

How big is the Indian stability chamber market and how is it growing?

The Indian stability chamber market is approximately Rs 200 crores and poised to grow at 20 per cent to 30 per cent year on year (YoY).

How important is the role of stability chambers in the pharma industry?

The primary reason for stability testing is the concern for the wellbeing of the patient suffering from the disease for which the products are being designed. Degradation of unstable products into toxic decomposed products not only results in loss of activity but also may lead to failure of therapy resulting in death. Hence, stability testing should be done very accurately.

It has become a legal requirement to provide data of stability testing to regulatory agencies before launching a new product commercially.

Stability studies protect the reputation of the manufacturer by assuring that the product will retain its fitness for use with respect to quality as long as it is in market.

Other benefits of stability studies, at developmental stage or marketed products, include providing a database that may be of value in selection of adequate formulations, excipients and container closure system for development of new products.

How would stability chambers play a role in the pharma industry’s journey towards automation?

Stability study plays a vital role in the pharma industry. It is always essential to adopt new technology.

We design and manufacture the chambers with advanced features like high –speed data transfer, PLC based controller with adequate data storage facility, touch screen display with various operations, auto change over to stand by systems, eco-friendly cooling system, range of alarms and same get log with details in point of audit trails, alarm transmission not only in equipment but also at various other places like in software, direct email from the PLC controller, at security gate, SMS to predefined numbers etc. Along with these, we always take care about the safety of equipment, components, samples and human beings.

Presently, how many domestic companies are manufacturing these kind of products?

There are around 30- 40 companies who manufacture similar kind of equipment, out of which two are prominent and Newtronic is in a leading position.

How much market have you captured and what is your growth percentage?

Almost all major pharma companies are equipped with our complete product range of stability chambers, cooling chambers, incubators and ovens.

We believe that almost 90 per cent of the tier-1 pharma companies (subjected to stringent regulatory norms) depend on Newtronic chambers for their stability operations.

In terms of growth, we have been seeing a YoY growth of 20 per cent to 30 per cent through expansion of our existing customer base and clinching important deals with new pharma companies and plants.

What is the USP of your products? How cost effective are your products?

Our USP is excellent consultancy in ICH guideline, regulatory and compliance requirements especially during US-FDA, WHO, TGA, UK MHRA and all other audits.

Completely PLC-based operations, ethernet-based software communication and comprehensive fall-back mechanism to ensure 24 x 7 operations, reliable with respect to safety and quality, have maximum service life and minimum maintenance. These are some of our USPs over our competitors.

Which is your blockbuster product and how much business does it add to the kitty?

Walk-in stability chambers are our blockbuster products. It contributes to approximately 50 per cent of our total business.

The walk-in chambers are easy to install, with prefabricated panels that can pass through the smaller door at site. It is economical and fits into your budget. It is available in customised sizes to utilise the maximum place at site and give maximum storage area. Most important, it is eco-friendly and an energy saver.

How many more products are in the pipeline? When would they be launched in the Indian market?

We have launched a chiller base cooling system for stability chambers to save power consumption upto 50 per cent from the present-day values and thus reduce our customers’ carbon footprint. Thus we are moving towards green technologies.

We have also launched web-based data loggers and real time monitoring system for mapping and monitoring various parameters such as temperature, humidity, light, differential pressure (DP) and CO2.

We have even launched Walk In chambers with FM200 (Inert gas dispersion) system and with Rockwool (Mineral wool) insulation. And we are happy to state that the market response has been overwhelming.

Tell us more about the company’s Direct HUMIDITY display and control technology? How is it better than the dry and wet bulb chart?

We used German based Rotronic or Testo to make high quality temperature and humidity combo sensors. These sensors have fast response time, rugged and reliable.

Dry and wet bulb chart is a very old technology and nowadays it is obsolete.

What is the customer base of Newtronic and how are you planning to add to it?

We are supplying our products to almost all major Indian pharma companies. Presently our client list has 300 active clients record and in the near future we have an aggressive plan to double the existing number – a feat that seems achievable!

What are the services that you offer to your customers?

We are involved in every stage with the client, from implementation to completion of project. We understand and analyse the client requirements and accordingly offer the most suited of our products. We have appointed professional and well qualified sales and service team to provide timely support to our clients. We keep the response time to the minimum. Apart from these, we are also providing online support to our clients.

Documentation is a critical part in the pharma industry. We provide all important documents including qualification documents, certificates and SOPs which help users to operate the machines properly.

Newtronic is known for its capability design, tell us more about it?

We believe in research and development. Our constant focus on technology innovations and design excellence has made our products a trendsetter and leader in all respects.

Our advanced product features like ethernet communication, auto switch over PLC controller, alarm types, logging and transmission make our products user friendly and help the users during audits.

Our skilled R&D team diligently strives to bring excellence and perfection in what we do. Our chambers are eco-friendly and give maximum storage area.

We have supplied more than 6000 stability chambers, moreover we have manufactured and supplied the chambers with capacity of 1 million litres and above.

Our new concept of ‘Go-green’ is being implemented successfully.

What are the current trends and opportunities in the market and how is Newtronic gearing to optimise them?

One of the latest trends that we have noticed is outsourcing of stability operations by US and European pharma giants to cost-effective destinations like India. We have noticed that we are the preferred vendor in such outsourcing operations wherein we work very closely with the projects team of US and Europe from the very beginning and facilitate the complete outsourcing of stability testing in a smooth and efficient way.

We are expanding our business continuously.

What is the manpower strength of the company and do you have plans to scale up?

At present, approximately 200 people are associated with Newtronic.

All our employees are well qualified in terms of their departmental activities. On a regular basis, we conduct training and grooming programmes for our employees which help them to understand our products and the company’s progress. It also helps them to understand and improve their individual responsibilities. Going forward, we anticipate that as business grows we would definitely require more people.

How large is the Newtronic’s international presence and which are the new markets that you are planning to tap?

Internationally we have an active present in more than 40 countries. To support our client’s in-station we have appointed channel partners in various countries and provide training to their technical persons periodically. We also provide online support to our clients which help them to resolve their problem without major hassles.

What was the company’s turnover in the last fiscal and what are its projections for the current fiscal?

In the last fiscal, the company’s turnover stood at Rs 400 million and this year we are projecting to touch more than Rs 500 million.

What are the company’s corporate plans for 2013-14?

We are looking to expand our product range and manufacturing activity. We also look forward to OEM business for multinational companies and collaborations with other reputed brands.

u.sharma@expressindia.com

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